Phillies vs. Braves NLDS Game 1 Pick and Prediction

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Max Fried #54 of the Atlanta Braves pitches in the bottom of the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies. Mitchell Leff/Getty Images/AFP.

Top sportsbooks have released their MLB odds for Tuesday’s NLDS series opener between Philadelphia and Atlanta.

Philadelphia is as well-rested as it possibly could be, as it handled its Wild Card Round opponent St. Louis in as few games as possible.

Atlanta is even more well-rested, but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

The Braves have not played since October 5. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the first-five total at top-rated sportsbooks.

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Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atlanta Braves

Tuesday, October 11, 2022 – 01:37 PM EDT at Truist Park

Who Starts for Philadelphia?

Ranger Suarez starts for Philadelphia in its series-opening contest in Atlanta. I think it's ridiculous that, with ace Max Fried starting for Atlanta, the posted total is seven.

In the last round, it seemed like oddsmakers were very inclined to adjust for the special atmosphere of playoff baseball by putting out low totals. This game's total is as high as it is because Suarez does not get as much respect against Atlanta.

While his ERA doesn't look amazing at 3.65, it is as high as it is largely because Houston blew the doors off him in a game that Philadelphia was content to lose so that it could face an easier matchup in St. Louis.

Suarez's Potential

Suarez has been great about bouncing back after his worst outings. The fact that Suarez has been a big "over" pitcher may seem to go against the point I'm making.

But, as I will discuss, Philadelphia has one of baseball's worst bullpens in terms of ERA and Suarez has frequently enjoyed tremendous run support, which he won't get with Atlanta's ace on the mound.


Suarez's Recent History vs. Atlanta 

One fact that oddsmakers are not properly acknowledging with their posted total is that Suarez has Atlanta figured out.

Suarez has thrived in three straight outings now against the Braves with two of those literally coming back-to-back, and it is hard for pitchers to flourish against the same lineup two straight times.

To be exact, Suarez has allowed 1 earned run in his last 17.1 innings against Atlanta.


Braves' Batters in Day Games

Two circumstantial factors further render the outlook negative for Atlanta batters. One, this series-opener happens to take place during the day.

Throughout the year, Atlanta has been at its worst, hitting-wise, in day games. Whereas their BA is .260 and their slugging rate .457 during the night, they bat .238 and slug .415 in day games.

This is a substantial drop-off, one which must nullify any consideration that the posted total is as high as it is because Brave batters deserve respect.

Atlanta hits as well as it does largely because of its night-time performances, but it would take quite a lot of innings for this game to finish after the sun sets.


Rust 

One further consideration against Atlanta is that the Braves have not played since October 5. Their bats are liable to be rusty as a consequence of their unique amount of rest time.

Of course, this rust is most likely to be a thing in the game's earliest phases. This likelihood further underscores the rationale for playing the first-five total as opposed to the full-game total.

If Atlanta bats come alive at all in this contest, it will be after they get some swings in first and when they face the Phillies' bullpen, which ranks eighth-to-last in ERA.


Who Starts for Atlanta?

Whereas Brave batters might suffer from rust in addition to suffering from other factors, extra time off does not affect Brave starter Max Fried negatively.

In fact, Fried is at his best off six or more days of rest. His ERA is 2.96 when pitching with this much rest. Fried last pitched on September 30 when he allowed 1 run in 5 innings for a second straight outing.

The other team that he thrived in 5 innings against was Philadelphia. More extensively, Fried has yet to allow more than 2 runs in a start since July 25. Furthermore, Fried enjoys a 3.13 ERA this season against the Phillies.


The MLB Verdict 

Both starting pitchers are in optimal spots for this game. For the above reasons, expect them both to limit their opponent to one run or zero runs through five innings.

If you are looking to play the full-game, Suarez rarely lasts more than six innings, which means that Atlanta should have three innings with which to work the Phillies bullpen, which ranks eighth-to-last in ERA.

With your MLB Picks in mind, the best way to play Atlanta for the full-game would be through live betting because the Braves are expensive now.

But the best full-game bet would be the "under" because Philadelphia will have its best relievers fresh.

Score Prediction: Atlanta 3 - Philadelphia 2

Best Bet: First-Five Innings Under 3.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.